Michio Kaku

“Of course, science is a double-edged sword; it creates as many problems as it solves, but always on a higher level. There are two competing trends in the world today: one is to create a planetary civilization that is tolerant, scientific, and prosperous, but the other glorifies anarchy and ignorance that could rip the fabric of our society. We still have the same sectarian, fundamentalist, irrational passions of our ancestors, but the difference is that now we have nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons…”

It was once said that there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. You can use a knife to prepare a meal or set a hostage free, but that same knife can be used to perform horrible acts of violence. The same can be said about the wonders of science.

It is through the wonders of scientific discovery that we have come to enjoy modern conveniences like the car and the personal computer. But these can be used for evil too, as explained above by the famed professor of theoretical physics. I recently discovered Dr. Michio Kaku and have come to be fascinated by just about everything he has to say about the current state of science, as well as how he views the days yet to come. The quote above was taken from Physics of the Future, a book that I just started reading by Dr. Kaku that explores the scientific advances we may experience by the year 2100.

While you could scoff at these predictions, saying that they are nothing more than the fantastical musings of a science fiction fan, he backs up the predictions by looking at what breakthroughs are already happening. That’s the same kind of approach that Michael Crichton took to his “science fact” books, identifying current technology and predicting how that will progress in the near future.

We are indeed our own worst enemy. It is through the genius and ingenuity of mankind that we have come to discover and invent so much. It is through great minds like Stephen Hawking that we have been able to expand our understanding of the universe, but our baser instincts can still get the best of us. But Kaku tries to remain optimistic:

“So let us hope that we can wield the sword of science with wisdom and equanimity, taming the barbarism of our ancient past.”

Some may say that he is pro-science and anti-religion, and that’s up to you to decide for yourself, but it’s undeniable that Kaku has been incredibly influential and continues to do what he can to “popularize” science to the masses. He has been featured on several television specials, starring in programs on BBC, the Science Channel, and the Discovery Channel. You may have also seen him as a guest on the talk shows of Letterman, Larry King, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and more.

I was never really one for physics when I was going through school, but it is thanks to great men like Dr. Michio Kaku that I continue to be fascinated by the world and indeed the universe that surrounds us. The hope is that through greater understanding, we can also gain better tolerance and continue with civilized debate and discussion.

The video below comes by way of the Big Think channel on YouTube, the same place where I found the video on the pain of paying with Dan Ariely. In it, Kaku attempts to answer the question, “Will mankind destroy itself?”

I encourage you to watch some of the other videos on YouTube (and elsewhere) that feature Dr. Kaku. He may be a bit of a dreamer, but he may very well be our generation’s Albert Einstein too.